Shopping for carpet should be fun, and if you are prepared it will be fun. To begin with, know your carpet dealer. Carpet is not something you purchase often ,and therefore you may not be informed as to what is the norm in today’s market. You must find a dealer you trust, and who is a professional. If you were considering a serious operation on a critical part of your body, you would not want someone who is not a professional doing the operation. Also you would not want the least expensive doctor to do the work. Your professional carpet dealer will be informed as to the most modern fibers, pad, colors, styles, and installation techniques. I find it amazing how misinformed many carpet salespeople are. Ask your friends who have had carpet installed, and see if they are happy with the entire carpet buying experience; not just the price.
Before you visit your carpet dealer do some homework. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE WEBSITE. Also figure out what areas you want carpeted and estimate their size. If you are an engineer, don’t figure your area to be carpeted down to the square inch. In fact, use the FORMULA (L x W)/8 if you are figuring square yards. For those of you who want to use square feet just take (LXW)X 1.20 These fudge factors will allow for the fact that carpet is not made exactly 12 ft wide, and better seam layout. Also, there will be some waste when laying out the carpet.
Be prepared to answer questions about your lifestyle, number of family members (including pets), your expectation of the carpet’s performance, your color scheme, and your concerns about footprints, seams, cleanability, wear, and so on. Your professional carpet dealer will ask these questions and guide you into the carpet that best suits your needs.
How to Compare:
In the old days (1970’s and the 1980’s) one could visit a carpet store, look at a style of carpet from a certain mill, write down that style and number, go to the next carpet store and find the same style and number in order to compare price. Those days are gone. Gone are the days of mill recognition. There are still some old names around like Karastan, Bigelow, Mohawk, Cabin Crafts, and Evans & Black. Today Mohawk owns Karastan, there is no carpet mill named Bigelow, and Cabin Crafts and Evans & Black are now owned by Shaw Ind. Inc. The carpet business is quickly going the way of the automobile business. There are fewer and fewer mills making carpets, as the bigger mills keep buying up the little ones to add to their giant conglomerates.
Since it is next to impossible for the consumer to shop and compare by style name or mill name, the manufacturers have devised various rating systems to help you compare. The most well known of these is Shaw Industry’s PAR RATING system. This a labeling system is based on the carpet’s performance in a series of wear tests. The only trouble with this system, and most other rating systems, is that they do not consider factors other than wear. Wear is interpreted by these systems to be a noticeable change in the carpet’s appearance in the traffic areas. This means an inexpensive multicolored carpet that hides soil and footprints could receive a higher rating that a super dense expensive plush because the plush would show some signs of footprints and soil before the multicolor. Thus, I feel most rating systems tend to further confuse the buyer. This does not make the shopping experience fun, and it should be.
The carpet industry is doing everything it can to make today’s carpeting safe. Our industry has gotten a bad image in the past from inaccurate television reporting. The carpet you buy today has 100 times less VOC’s than those emmisions you would experience painting the inside a typical bedroom. If you allow for enough ventilation during installation, you will not have a problem with carpet or pad fumes.